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Grand Coulee Dam

gravity dam on the Columbia River in the state of Washington, U.S. It was originally a project of the Federal Bureau of Reclamation. The main structure and power plant were completed in 1941, but not all the generators were installed until 1942. The dam rises 550 feet (168 m) above bedrock and originally measured 3,867 feet (1,179 m) along its crest. It was subsequently restructured into an L shape measuring 5,223 feet (1,592 m) along the crest of the main, forebay, and wing dams. Some 11,975,500 cubic yards (9,156,400 cubic m) of concrete are in the entire structure. Installed power capacity is 6,494 megawatts. The dam creates a reservoir, Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake, that has a storage capacity of about 9,562,000 acre-feet (11,795,000,000 cubic m). The largest and most complex of a series of dams on the Columbia River, the Grand Coulee provides irrigation to the Columbia Basin Project, assists in flood control, simplifies navigation, and furnishes hydroelectric power.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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